Exclusive: Comcast & Trump Dismantling Civil Rights Over $20 Billion Entertainment Studios Lawsuit
By CultureBanx Team
The Department of Justice is supporting Comcast in Byron Allen’s $20B lawsuit against them
Entertainment Studios consists of 43 syndicated television series & 8 cable networks
It seems as though you can put a price tag on civil rights and economic inclusion, for Comcast along with the Trump administration that amounts to $20 billion. In the ongoing lawsuit between Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios against Comcast (CMCSA -0.77%) for racial bias, the U.S. Department of Justice wants the lower Ninth Circuit Court of appeals to rethink its understanding of the Reconstruction-era civil rights law. Now Allen’s lawyers could be required to prove that race was absolutely the only reason Comcast didn’t place the company’s channels on its distribution platforms.
Why This Matters: As one of the few black owned media companies, taking on Comcast puts a lot at stake. Herein lies the problem, the DOJ claims the statute being argued calls for the “but-for” causation standard not the “motivating-factor” test used by the lower court. Law 360 reported Allen’s company would have to prove that racial discrimination tipped the scales towards denial and was not just a motivating factor. Entertainment Studios believes it can make its case under both standards. If the DOJ brief is favored by the Supreme Court, then the interpretation of the statute could affect the intention of it to protect African American civil rights.
“Comcast/NBCUniversal teaming up with Donald Trump’s Department of Justice to eviscerate a civil rights statute in the U.S. Supreme Court is shameful, evil, and the epitome of American institutionalized racism,” Allen told CultureBanx .
While Comcast garnered government support for its cause, the Congressional Black Caucus has weighed in on the case. In a statement to the Grio they wrote, “Our caucus is committed to continuing aggressive oversight of the Administration to mitigate the impacts of his dangerous and out of touch policies, which include opening the door to discrimination in contracts.”
Remember, the issue here is racial discrimination among contracts and there are millions of people impacted. Comcast cable distribution reaches about 22 million subscribers, and they’ve been blocking Allen from getting access to them. The Entertainment Studios media empire consists of 43 syndicated television series, eight cable networks, The Weather Channel, and a movie studio. Currently, there are 50 pay-TV operators that already distribute its content including Verizon Fios, DirecTV, RCN and Suddenlink to 80 million subscribers.
What’s Next: It’s possible that this much more narrow scope of the law can do irreparable damage to millions of viewers, subscribers and most importantly the 153-year-old civil rights statute. “With the full support of Donald Trump’s Department of Justice, there is no longer any doubt that Brian Roberts and Comcast are on the wrong side of history when it comes to challenging our civil rights in the U.S. Supreme Court, and Comcast has completely offended millions of African American subscribers who pay them billions of dollars each year,” Allen said.
Entertainment Studios response to Comcast about the DOJ’s filing that the Ninth Circuit Court’s reading of the Reconstruction-era civil rights law is too broad is due in late September. The ultimate showdown for economic inclusion and civil rights between Comcast and Entertainment Studios at the Supreme Court is set for argument on November 13th.
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